Reaper’s Blade – Melee Stamina Nightblade build for Dark Brotherhood!

Greetings, and welcome to the first official Kha’jira’s build!

In this guide, Dis One will show you her way of stabbing things more stabbingly! This build is designed for PvE content of the game and focuses on maximizing DPS for Stamina Nightblades. Our main weapon of choice will be Double Daggers and as a backup weapon we’ll use a Bow.


Is this build competitive?

Well, you CAN kill things. Of course there will be better FotM builds out there each patch, but chasing the rabbit is not what Kha’jira likes to do. Eating the rabbit sounds better. And the funniest thing is that Dis Ones playstyle becomes more and more meta each update (playing as a “Stamina” Werewolf Nightblade two years ago was… well, not so fruity).

Advantages

  • All pieces are crafted!
    • No more looking like a rainbow moron!
    • No more praying to RNGeesus!
    • Well, except the jewelry that cannot be crafted, but… but it still counts! 😀
  • Available on all levels (except non-crafted jewelry) so you can stick with it forever.
  • Roguish melee playstyle with an option to go ranged or start the fight from a distance.

Disadvantages

  • Hard to master. You need to have high awareness of the mechanic because going melee requires you to stand near enemy and you’ll get hit a lot. Also dodging and blocking attacks that are easily avoidable for ranged builds can drain your stamina pretty fast. Some enemies also like to jump around from time to time and chasing them lowers your numbers.
  • Dropped gear was always the Best in Slot option, so you’ll loose a little bit of DPS without Master/Maelstrom weapons. But gear is here only to make things easier, not to make things for you. So if you can’t do anything with that build why do you even need Maelstrom Bow? Also, wearing a scalped forehead of a horny horned empress is nasty.
  • This build and it’s future versions are still in testing, so even if the actual form is very good, ideas and setups are still polished and new knowledge will be added in the future. Also some of the more hardcore theorycrafters out there are literally sitting with spreadsheets analyzing every tiny bit of in-game data to increase your DPS by 0,4%. Kha’jira is too busy stabbing things to do that every time.

Race

Preferred race is a Khajiit because of their shiny soft fur passive crit chance bonus, but with few adjustments every stamina based race should be ok. Of course you can use ANY race but having shiny soft fur some build supporting passives is nice.

Werewolf?

Well, being a Werewolf is almost the same as being none, the only difference is having the ability to turn into ferocious beast as an ultimate. Other than that – no downsides, only benefits, so it’s up to you. On the other hand turning into smelly white bird-poop Vampire is not recommended for PvE, especially on Veteran City of Ash. And Elden Hollow. And White-Gold Tower. And everywhere. So nope, Vampires sucks. Literally.

Gear

gear

From stats perspective the best part for a heavy armor piece is the Chest, and for the light one it’s better to have a belt. So if you prefer to have the maximum available resistance for this build then do it like that. Otherwise, if you love the look of some parts – do as you want. The most important part is to keep at least 5 pieces in medium. The more different gear types you’ll wear, the more you’ll benefit from the Undaunted Mettle passive.

The overall rule for this kind of gear setup is to have one set with prolonged(?) 5th effect on your buff bar, and other 5th set on your main bar, while proccing the buff bar one as often as you can (So it can have it’s uptime all the time). Also both sets at least “Swap Set” needs to have weapons available. Using this technique you can profit from both sets at once without the need to choose The Best One. Also, the minimum number of weapon pieces is 3 so you’ll need DW/Sword and Board for at least one of the sets.

Of course not all sets work like that. In example Eternal Hunt rune lasts 5s, but if you weapon swap the set before that time runs out – the rune disappears. On the other hand Clever Alchemist set can be procced on your buff bar, and after swapping, the buff is still active.

Also for Night Mother’s Gaze debuff to work, you need to have as much Weapon Critical chance on your buff bar as you can to proc it more often. But with amount of DoTs that we use it shouldn’t be a problem anyways.

Gear replacement for final build

  • Someone in your group already have Night Mother’s Gaze set and can’t/don’t want to switch it – Replace Night Mother’s Gaze shoulder with Molag Kena (NMG 5th bonus -> Weapon Damage). Swapping head piece is also an option, but wearing a scalped forehead of a horny horned empress is nasty, so do as you want.
  • You reaaaaly need those shards but healer is a Sorc – Replace Agility Jewelry with Endurance ones (You can enchant your backup jewelry set as you want, with Weapon Damage or Stamina Reduction/Regeneration, or even have few more pieces ready to adjust to every situation).
  • You reaaaaly need Repentance but your healer is still a Sorc – Replace Night Mother’s Gaze shoulder with Bloodspawn piece (NMG 5th bonus -> Stamina Regeneration).
Wher Iz Mah Repentanz? Ugh!
Wher Iz Mah Repentanz? Ugh!

But to be honest if you’re at current CP cap (501 in total) and you need so much Regen, someone is clearly doing something wrong, and it could be you

  • Don’t wanna use ye ol’ good Hunding but have other fancy stamina set with DW weapons? Do as you want but you’re gonna test it yourself >:D

Gear replacement for non-final build

Since almost all pieces are crafted I don’t see the point of looking for replacement at low levels, except jewelry. When leveling your fearless adventurer any stamina set or non-set piece is a good idea.

Skills

Main Bar – Dual Wielded Daggers

  1. Flying Blade – the skill is used mainly as a source of Major Brutality since we try to obtain as many buffs as we can from our abilities, but it’s also good when you can’t reach your target or don’t want to run into The Stupid to be useful. The damage is quite ok and due to Slaughter passive it also works like an execute. The only downside of this skill is it’s cost and you cannot weave from a distance. But it looks fancy and classy and very roguish, so it’s awesome.
  2. Steel Tornado – Spin2Win! AoE for trash mobs and boss encounters with many adds. Increased range is better because Whirling Blades morph stacks with Major Endurance buff from any crappy Stamina potion.
  3. Killer’s Blade – very cheap and powerful execute skill. When your target is below 25% health just spam it until the end.
  4. Surprise Attack – our main attack ability. Applies soo many buffs to you and debuffs to your target that in groups without proper buff management it’s excellent! Also it’s a very stylish and elegant way to slash through your enemies. Also hits very hard and it’s a very pretty red spectral dagger.
  5. Rearming Trap – Skill mainly used as a source of Minor Force which is a great buff that helps us crit much more harder. Also it’s a nice DoT, but it’s little problematic when used on high mobility encounters since you need to catch something with it to work. Having it on your bar increases your Weapon Damage by 3% due to Slayer passive.
  6. Flawless Dawnbreaker – Quite cheap conical AoE ultimate ability that deals Physical Damage. Also leaves DoT on your enemies plus passively further increases you Weapon Damage by 8%. Use mainly when you need to hit many targets at once.

Buff/DoT Bar – Bow

  1. Poison Injection – very nice Poison type DoT that deals increased damage on targets with less than 50% health.
  2. Arrow Barrage – ground AoE DoT that’s nicely buffed with Maelstrom Bow. But since we’re noobs and we don’t have Maelstrom Bow, any morph you take will be ok. Increased range morph is good for bigger mob packs, and increased duration morph is better for single target boss fights. But since we’re debuffing targets with our NMG the more targets we debuff for our mates, the better.
  3. Razor Caltrops – probably the best beer in the world AoE DoT in the game when it comes to range and duration. Also works as a nice CC that snares our enemies and also can help us with debuffing them with our NMG. The only downside is that it won’t stack so only one person can use it in one place. Also it’s quite expensive so reapplying it because you just throw it in a bad place 3 seconds ago can drain your stamina pretty fast.
  4. Reaper’s Mark – nice and useful skill in two ways – debuffs armor for all your groupmates for longer fights AND gives a nice damage buff after marked target is killed. Unfortunately won’t stack with Surprise Attack’s debuff since it’s the same thing. But pairing it with Rapid Strikes overcomes this little flaw 🙂
  5. Relentless Focus – nice buff that gives us both Minor Berserk and Minor Endurance, and also a free damage source after using it after 4 light attacks. Use that attack before buff runs out or when you want to renew the buff and Assassin’s Scourge skill is active.
  6. Incapacitating Strike – very powerful, cheap single target ultimate ability that gives you it’s own unique buff – increased damage after attacking target with it. Also when it’s possible it stuns your enemy. Use it when cheap single target attacks are more optimal than smashing enemies in their face with Meridia’s Wrath.

Skill Rotation

Every step requires weaving, so do it whenever you can, even while casting buffs. Of course you don’t need to do it but you’ll loose much of your DPS.
There’s no such thing as a strict stiff rotation since game is very dynamic and it’s better to avoid one-shots than trying to kill ALL the thingz. So here are the overall rules:

First Steps:

  • Buff yourself with every non-attacking buff
  • Buff yourself using buffs that needs to be applied by attacking a target
  • Apply all your DoTs and final DoT-buffs

Central Steps:

  • Spam Surprise Attack (don’t forget to weave in light attacks!)
    • If there are many targets use Steel Spamnado Tornado
  • If any major buff or important DoT fades, reapply it
  • After 6 seconds on your main bar try to swap weapons to reapply Night Mother’s Gaze debuff on your target (you can do it as a part of the point above since with that amount of DoTs ticking on buff bar there’s a very high probability of NMG proccing)
  • If it’s a trash mob pack continue to Spamnado them. If you’re fighting with a boss, see point below.

Final Steps:

  • Shortly before target’s health bar reaches 25% reapply every buff and DoT
  • Start stabbing his butt with Killer’s Blade

But the most important part of the rotation is to follow the mechanic! It doesn’t matter how high is your DPS, how good is your healer. Even if you are awesome, your fellow DPS may be not so much, and doing important thingies instead of trying to burn the boss can save you from many stupid wipes. Of course there are fights that are a DPS race, but if that’s the part of the mechanic – just do it! 😀

Replacement Skills

Surprise Attack -> Rapid Strikes
Well, the debate between both is now about if you want to have useful buffs or more damage. More or less like that. Also second one is a channel, has 2m bigger reach, and is more stabby. But can proc poisons without weaving. And also muscle memory can mess here a little bit when you usually weaved with instant cast skill, and now need to do it while channeling. So yeah, decision is up to you.

Steel Tornado -> Rending Slashes
If encounter doesn’t need any mass hitting skills it’s nice to replace our big spinning AoE with quite nice DoT. Reapply it always when its about to end.

Reaper’s Mark -> Siphoning Strikes
Not as powerful as before, Siphoning Strikes can provide you some additional stamina. So if you don’t need damage/health but more stamina would be nice, slot and use it. Procs only from light/heavy attack and direct-damage skills (no DoTs, sadly…)

Rearming Trap -> Vigor
There are encounters when I never trust my healer. Regardless of how good he is. So if you don’t need extra damage but surviving is priority, heal yourself and your fellow adventurers!

Flawless Dawnbreaker -> Shooting Star
If you need to go ranged etc. use the second one. More expensive but still nice.

Incapacitating Strike -> Soul Harvest
It depends only on you if you prefer more damage and stun or passive Ultimate generation per kill. So both morphs are quite ok. I like the first one since it sits on my buff bar and things die mainly when I’m on my DW bar.

Ability Points

Try to have around 18k Health with food buffs, and then put the rest into Stamina. The more comfortable you feel with fighting the less health you’ll need. But as your damage scales also from Stamina, the more you have, the more powerful you’ll become. So decision is up to you, if you wanna be less squishy or hit harder. Also take note that there are fights in which not following the mechanic gets you oneshotted either way, so 1k Health both ways won’t make a difference.

Champion Points

Blue Tree

Blue tree focuses on increasing your damage. The idea here is to assign points in a way that maximizes your damage input in the most effective way. The best out of the easiest methods of obtaining this is summing up every source of your DPS (Direct attacks, DoTs, Critical Hits) and sharing points between Mighty (Physical, Poison and Disease damage), Thaumaturge (DoT damage) and Precise Strikes (Damage of critical hits). Putting points in Piercing is also an option, but with Night Mother’s Gaze there could be cases of overpenetrating target resistance and this star requires more testing.

Main stars

  • The Ritual -> Mighty (100)
  • The Ritual -> Precise Strikes (22)
  • The Ritual -> Thaumaturge (45)

Important passives

  • The Ritual -> Perfect Strike (30)

Note that Precise Strikes suffers from rounding and because of that, putting amount of points different from “jumping points” does not affect anything. Those values are 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 12, 15, 18, 22, 26, 29, 33, 38, 42, 46, 51, 56, 61, 66, 71, 76, 81, 87, 92, and 98*.

*Asayre said that so it’s true because it is 😀

Green Tree

The Thief constellations help you with resource management, either by reducing stamina cost of abilities and increasing regeneration. The point here is to assign points in a way that gives us all the useful passives while dividing them between Warlord and Mooncalf. Also is you know you’re Dodge Rolling a lot, few points into Tumbling would be nice, but it’s a matter of personal preference.

Main stars

  • The Lover -> Mooncalf (75)
  • The Tower -> Warlord (75)
  • The Shadow -> Tumbling (17)

Important passives

  • The Lover -> Synergizer (30)
  • The Lover -> Master Gatherer (75)

Red Tree

Defensive stars are the last important ones for a Damage Dealer, but dead DPS is crappy DPS, so working on survivability is not a bad idea. Especially when they help you with having less Health, and less Health equals more Stamina.

Main stars

  • The Lady -> Hardy (40)
  • The Lady -> Elemental Defender (40)
  • The Lady -> Thick Skinned (40)
  • The Steed -> Spell Shield (15)
  • The Steed -> Medium Armor Focus (15)
  • The Lord -> Quick Recovery (17)

Important passives

  • The Lady -> Unchained (120)
  • The Steed -> Invigorating Bash (10)
  • The Steed -> Phase (30)

Mundus Stone

Depending on your Critical Damage and Critical Chance you need to choose between The Thief and The Shadow. Quoting Asayre:

Thief is better than Shadow if your Critical Modifier is at least ~10% greater than your Critical Chance.

Dis One thinks that even if we have Night Mother’s Gaze, our critical chance paired with all our dots should be enough to proc debuff all the time. But if you struggle with that – go with Thief.

Buff Distribution

Since dealing damage is not only about stabbing things, table below will show us what buffs and debuffs we’re able to use and all the gaps that could be filled with Potions, Poisons and help from dat noobz over there our fellow adventurers.

buff

Major Berserk increases our damage after target marked with Mark Target lol Reaper’s Mark dies. So depending on situation, if you want to decrease enemy’s armor – cast RM on him, if you want Major Berserk – cast RM on the weakest of his minions. After that minion dies – free heal and damage increase.

Minor Berserk comes from Relentless Focus and can be also cast by a healer using Combat Prayer. But since we’re gonna use Assassin’s Scourge anyways, we can have self buffed damage.

Major Force can be only applied by Aggressive Warhorn and it’s the most effective on Tanks (cause their damage sucks so their damage dealing ultimates sucks also), so if you are running with organized groups (Or just smart Tanks) the probability of having AW on one of the supporting you persons is very high.

Minor Force is achieved by snapping things with our Rearming Trap. Of course first we need to catch them, so with more mobile encounters that can be a little bit tricky.

Major Brutality is often gained by many people from Weapon Damage potions, but since we’re gonna be using Flying Blade a lot, that skill will be our source of this buff.

Minor Brutality comes from any Dragonknight in our team using any Earthen Heart ability (Mountain’s Blessing passive). If we don’t have any Dragonknight nearby cause they don’t like us we can use a poison.

We’ll get Major Savagery from our potions. Of course we can use Evil Hunter passive… I mean we can’t, cause we have more useful abilities on our bar, so nope. Only from vodka potions.

Minor Savagery comes from any Nightblade that critically hits, so since we’re Nightblades focused on stacking Critical Chance we have it almost for free. Well… it’s actually free and available all the time so no need to use poison for that buff. Yay!

Major Fracture armor reduction comes either from Reaper’s Mark debuff or just from slashing things with Surprise Attack. Usually Tank could also use this debuff, but since Dis One often runs with PUGs, they does not always use a melee taunt so counting on a debuff is sometimes too complicated…

Minor Fracture could be achieved from using a Poison with that debuff, but it comes also from a Templar using Power of the Light ability. So availability of this debuff relies on our Templar’s rotation or our special poison.

Dunno if Major Vulnerability even exist, lol…

…but Minor Vulnerability can be applied from a poison. Since it doesn’t matter what are your stats when you’re using that debuff, it’s always a better option for supporting you person, like healer or Tank. But in situations where you are The Weakest Link, debuffing a target for your dungeonmates is a nice gesture.

Major Defile is only on the list cause it comes “for free” from using Incapacitating Strike and is very rarely used in PvE, lol. Dis One doesn’t even care about minor variant of the debuff.

When it comes to Recovery Buffs, they are a nice addition from using Buff Potions. There are no downsides of using Critical Chance Potion with added Stamina refill and Stamina recovery (Major Endurance), plus sometimes Health refill and Health recovery (Major Fortitude). So if nothing suffers from that, why not? 😀

Also buffing ourselves with Relentless Focus gives us Minor Endurance,  additional Stamina Regen is always welcomed.

If we’re using Surprise Attack as our spam ability, we automatically trigger the Shadow Barrier passive that gives us Physical and Spell Resistance. So it’s kinda for free here. Dead DPS is crappy DPS, and Healers will love us.

Minor Resolve and Minor Ward can be applied by poisoning our targets and giving them debuff, as well as giving us desired buffs. But to be honest – as a DPS your role is to deal damage, not to be a training dummy. So if your poison have the debuff, ok, if not, don’t try to acquire it by sacrificing more important thingies.

Major Protection is for very hardcore situations that we’ll be trying to avoid, so if someone else cast it, like Nightblade Tank using Bolstering Darkness, it’s nice. But you can just skip it for now.

If you are using our Support Poison, the draining variant of it can give you Minor Protection, but the effect is much more shorter than only the debuffing one. So it’s up to you, just wanted to say that in hard fights you have such an option.

Aaaaaand… since it’s possible to obtain it with our current Alchemical Recipes, Major Expedition for a highly mobile encounters is as nice as an addition as Major Endurance/Fortitude. So, yes, you can have it too! 😀

There are of course other interesting “buff” combos that are not classified as Major/Minor ones. The more Assassination tree abilities you have on your bar, the bigger is your Critical Damage/Chance.

Also hitting enemy with Incapacitating Strike allows us to hit it harder for WHOLE 20% for 6 seconds! Looking at how cheap this Ultimate is, that’s powerful.

The more Fighters Guild abilities you have on your bar, the bigger is your Weapon Damage buff. Also Flawless Dawnbreaker is an additional 5% (8% in total with the passive).

Food & Drinks

For PvE the most nutritious meal would be VR15 CP150 Health + Stamina food. Dish doesn’t matter, choose the one that you like the most.

Potions

SOONTM

Poisons

SOONTM

Stats

Dual Wield normal

n_dw

Bow normal

n_bow

Dual Wield buffed

f_dw

Bow buffed

wink ;)
wink 😉

Tips

  • I prefer to have both ranged attacks in the same slot, because sometimes if my weapon swap won’t work I can still deal some damage. It’s much better than spamming your buffs 10 times because server doesn’t like you.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants

Gilliam’s Build

Jeckll’s Build

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